The Sales and Marketing Disconnect
Sales and marketing are two terms often used interchangeably. On one hand, this grouping makes sense because the two teams need to work together. But in reality, Sales and Marketing are two very distinct functions and require completely different skills and mindsets. Marketing is not signing a customer to a contract, and creating a social media campaign is not Sales. Let’s take a look at what these key functions really are – and how to better align them for bottom-line results:
What is Sales?
A salesperson’s job is to close deals and sign contracts on specific products or services. Sales professionals develop relationships with customers, purchasing departments, and decision-makers. They knock on doors, make calls, overcome objections, negotiate prices and terms and often work internally to be sure their customer’s orders are filled accurately. The perspective of Sales is focused on numbers generated this week, this month, and this quarter. Sales professionals are often resistant to changing tactics, using unfamiliar materials, or learning new technologies because they feel that their experience and expertise in dealing with customers has worked for them in the past.
What is Marketing?
Marketing’s purpose is to attract the attention of a wide range of potential customers, generate awareness and create viable leads. In today’s world, that typically includes everything from grass-roots outreach efforts to sophisticated digital targeting. Marketing professionals need to understand the latest tools and tactics to attract the market, build relationships, and develop leads in a constantly shifting landscape. Unlike their counterparts in sales, most marketing professionals scour the latest technologies, trends, and developments to find what may differentiate them from the rest of the market.
Where is the disconnect?
Despite attempts to create alignment between sales and marketing, most businesses still see a disconnect, particularly in the following areas:
Sales doesn’t know the marketing message – A shoe company’s marketing team rolls out a social media campaign promising to donate shoes to homeless veterans but the sales team isn’t aware of the program. Customers are left wondering about the integrity of the donation program and of the company itself.
Marketing and sales are targeting different customers – The marketing department of a floral company creates visually stunning, marketing pieces, a blog targeting working moms, and an engaging social media campaign for trendy young women. Meanwhile, the sales department is busy taking orders from men ordering flowers for wives and girlfriends.
Salespeople don’t use the marketing materials – A typical marketing team churns out a myriad of collateral material throughout the year. Unfortunately, up to 85% of that content is never used by sales because they either don’t understand how it will further the sale or the information is not relevant to them.
Lead transition – Prospects and customers are often exposed to a disjointed handover, where the tone of communication and messaging suddenly changes. In this era of instant gratification and feedback, one misstep can mar the customer experience and risk the sale.
The 3 C’s of aligning Sales & Marketing
In order to bring the two departments into alignment, three critical matters need to be addressed:
Communication – The functions of marketing and sales should not exist in separate silos. Introducing better communication begins with a management-level culture shift and commitment to the initiative. Market data, client feedback and metrics should be shared across the departments and common goals should be identified. Set up specific channels of communication, such as regular meetings, conference calls, or information sharing sessions. Some companies have even mixed the departments together to encourage open communication.
Content – Marketing teams spend a lot of time and money on wide-ranging content (blogs, advertising, and press releases) to create awareness and attract as many prospects as possible to the top of the sales funnel. However, as the prospects move closer to a sale, the nature of the content may change. Include the sales team in brainstorming to identify specific types of content that will help them close more deals. Salespeople may prefer case studies, competitor comparisons, or online reviews.
Cooperation – Marketing teams have their finger on the pulse of consumer trends and communication channels. Sales teams speak to prospects and customers every day. Cooperation between these teams will ensure that everyone is working toward the same goal and the organization can build a better customer experience from initial touchpoint to final sale.
Are your sales and marketing teams communicating regularly? Unlike many firms, the Marketing Logix team has many years of sales and sales management experience. Contact us and let us build a fully integrated sales and marketing program.